Steaming ahead with a new group for Hartlepool railway enthusiasts

Locomotive 67691 passing the Railway Canteen on the right. Visit http://www.hhtandn.org for more.
Locomotive 67691 passing the Railway Canteen on the right. Visit http://www.hhtandn.org for more.
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Keen people - with a passion for railways and their history - have a new Hartlepool group to enjoy.

Whether it’s the grand old age of steam or more modern varieties, the quarterly Central Library meetings will discuss all things track related.

Steam locomotive 43071 about to pick up a large number of passengers at Seaton Carew station.

Steam locomotive 43071 about to pick up a large number of passengers at Seaton Carew station.

Meetings are at the library in York Road on the first Monday of the month at 2pm. The next is on June 5 and subsequent meetings are planned on September 4 and December 4.

Dave Whitfield, of the North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group, said: “They are aimed at anyone who previously worked in the railway industry or both modern and steam railway enthusiasts.

“The meeting on June 5 will include a presentation from Colin Hatton on The Railways of the Great War. There is a small subscription charge for each meeting of £2 per person.”

Dave added: “Railways played an important part in the development of Hartlepool and West Hartlepool in the 19th Century, particularly in the dock and industrial areas of the town.

Real steam in everyday service has now gone forever but the memories linger on and the passion for the steam engine never fades

Dave Whitfield

“Railways were everywhere with engine sheds on the Headland and Mainsforth Terrace in ‘West’. You wouldn’t recognise the place now so much has changed, the railway yards and factories gone.

“In the 1950s, one of the main interests for young lads was trainspotting and many gathered at the railway canteen at the back of Church Street to watch the seemingly endless procession of trains.

“If you were lucky you could also sneak around the engine sheds to look at the locomotives close-up, hissing and gurgling away in full steam.”

Dave added: “Midday at the canteen was the time to meet because the south-bound parcels train often produced something unusual on the front. The steam engine would come off its train in the station and shunt the goods yard there.

“This meant the big engine would pass by on the line nearest the canteen, so close you could almost touch it as it glided past.

“The Parcels was followed by the 1.01pm train to Colchester which often was hauled by one of Sir Nigel Gresley’s finest Pacifics from Heaton Shed on Tyneside. The excitement mounted particularly if the engine was named, from

another depot and new to the area.

“Good friendships were formed in those days which lasted for a lifetime and the interest subsequently took some us to far away places around the world in search of the last steam engines long after they had finished in the UK in 1968.

“Real steam in everyday service has now gone forever but the memories linger on and the passion for the steam engine never fades.”

For more on library events, contact (01429) 272905.